What were your holiday gifts worth to you?

The WePay Blog recently posted a very interesting breakdown of what gifts are worth to the recipient. Apparently, there is a significant devaluation to the gift-giving process, especially where gift cards are concerned. (For those of you cynical enough to think about gift-giving in terms of valuation, this is the post for you!)
Collect money online, girl scouts, boy scouts, fraternity dues
I’m of a mixed-mind when it comes to the gift card debacle. Having worked in retail, I know that stores lurrrve gift cards, because they invite people to spend more. This is an axiom that I’ve found to hold true in my own life. Let’s do a quick break down of what these cards are worth to me:

$25 Meijer Gift Card: I’ve already decided that I’m not using this card on “normal” groceries, I’ll be buying fun and special food-type stuff instead. Still, I’ll probably spend close to $40, so the card is worth -$15.
$25 AMC Gift Card: This is a little different, because my brother got one as well. Our combined worth is enough for both of us to see 2 movies (at our heinously expensive local theatre). However, we’ll have about 6 bucks left, so we’ll see a third. Meaning a loss of about $10.
$50 Visa Gift Card: Here’s where it gets fun. I’m using this card to buy two things I was going to get around to buying anyway. (A curling iron and a blender.) I view this as win-win.
Cash: Many people prefer to receive cash for the holidays. I tend to disagree. When I get cash, I immediately throw it in savings or parlay it into fixed costs. (I’d like to thank my Grandma for buying my Korean books and my Aunt Elaine for buying my half of a split-polisci set.) But I do appreciate having the extra cushion right after the holidays. (Re: Lost paycheck.)

But then again, my overly sentimental sensibilities push for me to arrest these overjoyously capitalist valuations of my presents. Because I like getting presents and I love that people in my life are thinking about me when they buy them. It means so much to me that my boyfriend’s mother knows that Meijer is my food purveyor of choice and that my Dad wants to offset the cost of my brother and I’s holiday film binge. Even gifts that start to devalue immediately upon purchase (electronics, that schnazzy pair of gloves I got this year) far exceed their cash value in sentimental currency.

But what say you, miniscule readership? Are your gifts worth face-value? More? Less?

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4 responses to “What were your holiday gifts worth to you?

  1. First, this post immediately made me think of this story on NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/12/21/132203873/the-tuesday-podcast-making-christmas-more-joyful-and-more-efficient
    Second, I wonder if it’s wrong to focus on the value of the gift as valued by the person who received it. A $1000 Diamond ring may be worth only $820 to the recipient, but that doesn’t mean that the act of giving it isn’t worth $1000 to the gifter. That said, I’m sure the values are correlated in some way (if giving a ring is worth $1000 to the gifter when the ring is worth $820 to the receiver, what would it be worth to the gifter if the ring was only worth $500 to the receiver?) I have absolutely no idea how to do a survey for this, though.
    Third, I’m curious why you posted this entry in ‘politics.’

  2. 1.) I hope you’re the Max I think you are, because if you’re some secret other Max, then I have a Max you should meet. And I’ll be certain to listen to that podcast when I next have a minute to not converse with those around me.
    2.) You know, I wondered that myself. Because I have no idea how much these gifts are worth to the giver. Maybe I should ask them.
    3.) Because I don’t know where else to put it. And also because I think there’s something inherently political to gift giving. Although, perhaps I should create a tag called “The Socio-Economics of Sentimentality.”

  3. I’d definitely say that my gifts are worth more than what my gift-givers paid for them! They have much sentimental value and they’re actually things that I love (a.k.a. my dad’s homemade cutting boards – you can’t put a price tag on those babies!)

  4. I would kill for a good butcher block cutting board. Unfortunately, the place where I’m living right now has approaching zero counter space.

    I think it’s awesome that your dad made the cutting boards though…that’s really awesome.

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